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Thursday, June 13, 2013

David Ignatius, "Edward Snowden’s Misplaced Idealism": America's "Best Tool in Combating Terrorism"?

It's now 1:20 a.m. in New York, and the only reference to President Obama on the homepage of The New York Times is to be found under "News from A.P. & Reuters":

  • "Obama, Japan's Abe Talk NKorea, China, Trade"

Similarly, if we look at the homepage of The Washington Post, the only references to Obama are:

  • "Obama rallies support for Markey in Boston as Senate race tightens"
  • "Obama taps Native American fundraiser for human rights post"

Or in other words, as the debate over Edward Snowden's leaks concerning massive NSA surveillance of US citizens swirls around us, Obama is nowhere in sight with leadership and guidance concerning America's ongoing battle with global terrorism. Yes, Obama is in deep hiding until the storm blows over.

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Edward Snowden’s misplaced idealism" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-snowden-exposed-policies-approved-by-congress-courts/2013/06/12/815c8aa4-d2d7-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html?hpid=z2), David Ignatius tells us that electronic surveillance programs are America's "best tool" to combat terror. Ignatius writes:

"James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who oversees the NSA, argued last weekend that Snowden made 'reckless' disclosures about its monitoring of foreign Internet communications, and that 'potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm' could come from the revelation of a court order authorizing collection of telephone call data from Verizon. Congress and the courts will examine such claims, but how should we as citizens evaluate them?

My guess is that Clapper is correct when he implicitly argues that these electronic surveillance programs are the United States’ best tool in combating terrorism. It’s probably also true that each revelation of U.S. capabilities weakens this advantage by putting adversaries such as al-Qaeda on notice about our snooping capabilities. The revelations likely make it harder, as well, for U.S. corporations and foreign allies to cooperate."

"My guess is that Clapper is correct when he implicitly argues that these electronic surveillance programs are the United States’ best tool in combating terrorism"? If Ignatius honestly believes this, he knows nothing about terrorism.

Moreover, if Clapper believes this, he should resign as director of national intelligence - and not because he lied to Congress.

An act of organized terror is premised upon:

  • A target, e.g., Boston Marathon or World Trade Center.
  • Accessibility of the target.
  • Terrorist motivation and in some instances, readiness to pay the ultimate price.
  • Infrastructure and training.
  • Funding.
  • State support.
Eliminate one or more of these elements, and the ability of a terrorist organization to perpetrate an act of terror is significantly weakened. So what does a massive electronic surveillance program aimed at Americans as a whole contribute to preventing terrorist acts? Maybe it might aid in "rolling up" a terrorist cell following perpetration of an act of terror, provided the cell's members have been careless, but prevent a terrorist strike? No way, Jose. Sure, there is no black and white, and the dangers to civil liberties of monitoring all Americans must be weighed against the benefits of an electronic surveillance system, but now ask yourself how PRISM helped prevent the Boston Marathon bombing, notwithstanding a warning from Moscow.

So where are we to find the biggest terrorist threat? Simple. As recently reported by CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57586946/state-dept.-iran-support-for-global-terror-surged-in-2012/):
 
"Iran last year boosted its support for global terrorism to levels not seen for two decades, the Obama administration said Thursday as it released its annual report on international trends in extremist violence. The report said the core elements of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan are headed for defeat but stressed that the network's various affiliates remain severe threats to the U.S.

The State Department's 'Country Reports on Terrorism' for 2012 left unchanged the U.S. list of 'state sponsors of terrorism.' Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria remain on that blacklist, although Iran was singled out as the worst offender and Syria was taken to task for the ongoing brutal crackdown on opponents of President Bashar Assad's regime.

The report said 2012 was "notable in demonstrating a marked resurgence of Iran's state sponsorship of terrorism." That sponsorship has been largely carried out through the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the militant Shiite Hezbollah movement, Iran's ally and proxy in Lebanon, it said.

'Iran and Hezbollah's terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s, with attacks plotted in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa,' it said. Those included an attack on a bus carrying Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed six, as well as thwarted strikes in India, Thailand, Georgia and Kenya.

The report's 'strategic assessment' said core al Qaeda continues to weaken as its leaders increasingly fight for survival. But it said that leadership losses with the core have driven al Qaeda affiliates to become more independent by setting their own agendas and targets and raising money on their own, primarily through kidnapping and other crimes."

So how is the US counteracting Iranian sponsored terrorism? Answer: It's not. During his first term as president, Obama presided over a "charm campaign" aimed at Tehran, which failed. Meanwhile, toothless negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons development program, managed by Catherine Ashton, the EU's nincompoop High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, continue.

Moreover, given that Obama has demonstrated that his "red line" involving the use by Syria's Bashar al-Assad of chemical weapons is toothless, Russian President Vladimir Putin is now claiming that "I have no doubt that Iran is adhering to the rules in this area [nuclear weapons proliferation], because there is no proof of the opposite" (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/russias-putin-says-iran-nuclear-push-peaceful-170035158.html), i.e. kicking sand on 98-pound weakling Barack Obama.

Hezbollah? The US is finally asking the EU to sanction this Iranian terror proxy (see: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/in-europe-a-growing-case-for-banning-hezbollah/275035/), yet the Obama administration has not done nearly enough to prevent Hezbollah from raising funds or procuring weapons.

The next terrorist attack? I don't expect another 9/11-type attack. Rather, I expect an Iranian cyber assault on America's weak underbelly, i.e., computer systems responsible for the functioning of banks, financial markets, interstate transportation and telecommunications. This would also prove a disaster.

Bottom line: Instead of going after Iran and Hezbollah, the Obama administration is focusing its efforts on American civil liberties. But heck, what do I know?

4 comments:

  1. Obama is Obama. He shouldn't be our President. He shouldn't be our President when the world is disintegrating (not without his help).
    In spite of what assorted manipulators (I have much more precise words in my vocabulary, but I am behaving) say, the world doesn't need a nice smile in nice suit in the nice White House, but ... an strong AMERICAN President.
    Now, no surprise here ... Snowden is loved not only by Greenwald/Guardian but also by Stormfront and Al Jazeera. What can better illustrate this neo-Nazi/"weird" "left"/Islamism fusion?
    Yesterday, I also read that Assange solicited publicly American military secrets.
    I am not American born and I wasn't raised on brain and gut robbing PC/ethicsless muesli, but on my beloved eggs+ and high dislike of treason. I still eat eggs and dislike treason.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, you are correct.
    We have this neo-Nazi/"weird" "left"/Islamists fusion and totally disintegrating world, but Obama is spying on me. Makes sense. Yes, sarcasm.
    This exactly what I was thinking when I declare pompously in 2007 that I'd rather die than vote for him: "Bad for the country, bad for the world."

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  3. "Blackhawk Down" now playing on FXM channel.

    Just seems appropriate to watch that instead of being creeped out by all the news online except for this Youtube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FctAww-4p9k
    Duyuyor musun bizi? İşte çapulcunun sesi" (Do you hear the people sing?) .

    Taksim Square Protesters Sing Les_Miserables
    in English, then Turkish.

    Made my day, such as it is.
    K2K

    ReplyDelete